Royal Scottish Shipping Line to launch as savvy Argyll business turns to the water with luxury charters from Oban

It’s taken a while but the high end luxury small [ish] boat cruising is now cottoning on to the magnificent attractions and the commercial possibilities of the Argyll and west coast waters.

Now the Royal Scottish Shipping Line, registered in Malta, is launching with its 33m luxury superyacht, which is to be based in Oban on charter.

Spirit of Fortitude is a one of a kind a displacement motor yacht with very elegant lines. She has hand made furniture including  a library office area, dining area and even a designated whisky viewing room.

The cabins are huge, all en suite and with full size wardrobes – plenty of space just to be alone.

The Scottish Shipping Line and Spirit of Fortitude are the brainwaves of the Punlers, with Denice Punler [Purdie] one of those gems with a inbuilt entrepreneurial instinct. She says that they were probably the only people taking money into Greece – where Spirit of Fortitude was bought and had a 12 month refit in Athens.

The duration of the refit was not due to extensive necessary works [though they were extensive] – but the fruit of a canny business brain.

The Greek economy is functioning on cash up front for everything. Prices are rock bottom. It made sense in these circumstances to do a full monty refit – and all the work involved was very much appreciated by the local workforce.

Denice talks of the amazing of overseeing the refit in Athens. The world’s biggest ships come and go through the port. There are only 5 mega cranes in the world and Athens has 3 of them.

The Punlers got talking to lots of owners and captains – all of which proved Clydebuilt enthusiasts.

Then there was a very strange coincidence.

All of the time they were in Athens,  a superbly looked after Clydebuilt yacht – Madiz – was alongside them.  She was a boat that drew the eye and bred affection Denice says everyone loved her no matter how glorious a mega yacht they had themselves.

When Denice was doing research into the Coates family, the earlier owners of the Castle Toward estate which her company  is buying from current owners, Argyll and Bute Council [an acquisition about to be concluded]- she found that the Coates had commissioned the building of Madiz.

When she discovered his she must have thought the Spirit of Fortitude was a fated purchase, with the blessing of Madiz and its direct link to a parallel business venture.

All the crew so far employed for Spirit of Fortitude are from the Scottish Isles – Jura, Tiree  and Stornoway. All have a lot of experience and both passion and wisdom for the waters and the Isles – a major asset to the enterprise and to the yacht’s  operations for those who charter her.

The use of Oban as her base is very well judged – with the town known for very good reason as ‘the gateway to the isles’. There are so many directions a cruise can take out of Oban, with so many experiences to be plumbed.

The Punlers saw a gap in the luxury cruising market with a vessel much bigger than what’s currently on offer but smaller than the 73 metre Hebridean Princess. Their ambition is to provide a first class product and show the West Coast at its spectacular best.

‘Everyone says never have a business that’s your hobby’, says Denice, ‘I say everyone should live their hobbies and enjoy working.’  This is an attitude that understands the true value or work and the secure foundations it builds for a life.

The Spirit of Fortitude is on her way to Oban from Greece, with better weather in the Bay of Athens making the passage possible.

The Royal Scottish Shipping Line needs more staff fo.r her and is about to start advertising for them – an attractive opportunity that will involve hard work to the highest standards but will be hugely rewarding in experience, skills development and self confidence.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Can they just use ‘Royal’ in the company name?
    I did a Google search which suggests you need permission to do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    Lundavra April 13, 2016 10:36 pm Reply
    • That’ll be (one reason) why the company is registered in Malta, not the UK.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      Granny April 14, 2016 7:29 am Reply
  • Maybe she can do the Barra run when the Isle of Lewis is at the Garvel

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Murdoch MacKenzie April 14, 2016 7:51 am Reply
  • Looks like a great idea – love the west coast and this sounds like an amazing way to see it at its best! Good to see it will support the local economy too!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Kelly Jones April 14, 2016 9:32 am Reply
  • Good news. Newsroom can you tell me what is the “designated whisky viewing room” you mention in paragraph 3.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Calum April 14, 2016 10:46 am Reply
    • We’ll ask for the detail and come back to you.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      newsroom April 14, 2016 11:07 am Reply
    • The information you want on the whisky viewing room – and more additional information – is in this follow up article just published:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      newsroom April 14, 2016 9:17 pm Reply
  • It would be a lot easier to recruit crew if they had a website that was more than just a place marker; there’s not even a page with ‘under construction’ on it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    db April 14, 2016 3:43 pm Reply
  • Many thanks DB for highlighting this i will have the website live for next week at but this article has already generated 2 phone calls so im pleased we have some interest, if anyone wants any info or wish to apply for a position please contact me on, thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    DENICE PURDIE April 14, 2016 5:41 pm Reply
    • Denise. You will see at the top of this page, someone asking whether you entitled to use the word “Royal” in the name of your company. Unless you have specific permission from the Scottish (or UK) Government, you are not. See the Company and Business Names Regulations 2009. The fact that you are registered in Malta does not mean you can ignore this, not least because (a) Malta is a member of the EU and (b) you are operating in the UK. This is surely a clear case of lèse-majesté.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      alex McKay April 15, 2016 7:45 am Reply
      • A McK – the world of tourism marketing seems, over the years, to have swung toward the anodyne in the search for what will catch the eye of the punter. It’s only a few years since the Buchanan Arms down at Luss lost its historic identity with the local bigwigs when it was rebranded the Loch Lomond Arms (presumably to cash in on the fame of the Loch, and to hell with heritage) Pubs all over Britain have been suffering from this sort of ‘dumbing down’ – and cruise ship companies have been fond of the ‘royal’ moniker for a long time. Pretty meaningless really, with none of the substance attached to the names of shipping lines of old – Cunard Ellerman Union Castle Shaw Savill Peninsular and Orient White Star Blue Funnel Bibby etc etc.
        ‘Branding’ has come a long way from the days when it just meant a hot iron applied to cattle.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

        Robert Wakeham April 15, 2016 11:51 am Reply

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